Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the city is opening up the floor to the public on whether they should eliminate the RCMP and move to a municipal police force.
At the moment, the city is tied into a contract with the RCMP for 20 years, but the contract can be broken with two years notice and provincial approval of a new police force.
Mayor Brodie told Vancity Buzz the two issues he’s concerned with are that of governance, since the RCMP is Ottawa-based, and finances.
“There are a lot of financial issues with the RCMP that don’t get easier over time.”
One of the major financial issues Mayor Brodie cited was the building of the Green Timbers RCMP headquarters in Surrey when they had a “perfectly good headquarters” that they left behind in Vancouver.
“The province and the federal government have been quarrelling and debating ever since who should be in there and the like and we’ve had virtually no input into the situation. It’s a terribly dysfunctional situation,” he said.
When asked what Mayor Brodie believes the cost of forming a municipal police force would be, he said they are fine-tuning those numbers.
“There will be significant transition costs if we make a change and there will be operating cost implications as well. So we’re in the process of examining that.”
Once those numbers are available, the public will be consulted on whether they believe staying with the RCMP would be beneficial for the city or if the costs associated with transitioning to a municipal police force would be worth it.
But does the public trust the RCMP? Brodie said they will wait to find out via the consultation.
“My read on it is that the local detachment has done a really good job and I’d be surprised to hear that there’s a distrust.”
Mayor Brodie expects the public consultation will take place early in the Fall, and if all goes to plan, Richmond could have a new police force by 2018.
Abbotsford, Delta, New Westminster, Port Moody, Vancouver, and West Vancouver all have municipal police forces.